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Counseling & Behavioral Health Department Receives $2M Federal Grant

Counselor working with patient The HRSA award is designed to bolster workforce education and training efforts and provide stipends for second-year students in the program.

The College of Health Professions’ Counseling and Behavioral Health Department has received a nearly $2 million grant to bolster its workforce education and training efforts.

The majority of the funding, which comes from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), will result in up to 30 students within the community and trauma counseling program (CTC) annually receiving stipends during their internship training.

“The aim of the grant is to expand the diversity of the workforce and improve training so that they will be better equipped to work in integrated care and interprofessional settings with a focus on children and adolescent mental health,” says Dr. Jeanne Felter, the department’s chair who will serve as the grant’s project director and primary investigator. “I am really excited about the benefits that this funding will provide not only our program and students but the impact it may have on the Jefferson Health system and the entire region.”

The four-year grant, which starts on July 1, will focus on students in their second year of training. These students will receive a stipend of approximately $10,000 to support their professional development and expand on their interprofessional training.

“HRSA is invested in ensuring that students have the skills needed to work in less traditional behavioral-health settings,” Dr. Felter says. “This is particularly important in Philadelphia, where the city’s behavioral-health systems are overburdened with incredible wait times.”

Of the 100 students in the program, roughly 50 are eligible to apply for the stipend, which will help the University bolster its ties to community partners in the field. Dr. Kirby Wycoff, CTC program director, will serve as associate project director.

Dr. Wycoff says the focus on interprofessional training will expand graduates’ abilities to fluidly and skillfully interact with transdisciplinary care teams in health care, social services and educational settings.

“This is when students from multiple sectors come together to learn about one another practice and learn to cultivate collaborative approaches to providing client- or patient-centered care,” she says. “Dr. Felter, who is leading this project, is an innovator. This is the future of integrated service systems, and our students will be on the cutting edge of this emerging practice thanks to her leadership. We are excited about the opportunities this will bring for students, clients, patients and the entire care system.”